President's Newsletter - Summer 2016
Mon, 04 Jul 2016

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Message From the President


In this Presidents report, I would like to focus on our Pathologists’ Assistants (PA) Section and thank our PAs across Canada for all their great work.   I appreciate all they do, and value their membership in the CAP-ACP.  I would like to specifically acknowledge outgoing executive member and PA Section Chair, Danielle Lee.  Danielle has a been tireless advocate for Pathologists’ Assistants and her persistence and infinite patience have guided the development and implementation of a certification process for PAs.  She has been a wonderful spokesperson for the profession.  The Executive is looking forward to working with incoming executive member and PA Section Chair, Alan Wolff.

What is PA certification?  To begin, I must state that the development of a PA certification process has not been undertaken lightly by the CAP-ACP Executive, and we performed due diligence with our legal advisors and insurance provider to ensure that we are working in the best interests of the Association and for Canadian PAs.  Certification is not regulation; it is not licensing.  Certification simply provides independent verification of a certain level of expertise in a particular area.  The process is voluntary, and certification is not uncommonly developed and provided by a voluntary association, such as ours.  Pathologists’ Assistant certification is defined by a minimum education requirement and/or experience as verified by a pathologist and as defined by the experience checklist in the PA Section application form and/or passing of an exam.  Certification is sometimes a step preceding licensing and regulation of a profession, but certification itself is a separate process.

As you know, accreditation is a process that defines an institution or program as meeting a standard; it does not refer to an individual.  Two Canadian graduate study PA programs are currently accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS), and others are in the process of obtaining NAACLS accreditation.  This does not mean that graduates of these programs are certified, or accredited, or licensed.  Rather, at that present time, these graduates only have the option to apply for certification using the American PA certification process (American Society of Clinical Pathology – Board of Certification).  As an alternative, our goal was to facilitate the development and implementation of a Canadian certification process for Pathologists’ Assistants working in Canada.

As a beginning, in 2014 the PA Section passed a motion to allow certification benchmarks to be used as criteria for membership in the PA Section of the CAP-ACP.  This included a “membership” exam as a precursor to a true “certification” examination.

To formalize the PA certification process, we are now pleased to announce the formation of the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists' Assistants (CCCPA).  The CCCPA is comprised of a Board of Directors, which includes both Pathologists and Pathologists’ Assistants.  The CCCPA exists within the CAP-ACP but is distinct from and outside of the PA Section, much like the relationship between the ASCP and its Board of Certification (BOC).  As per CAP-ACP legal, and ISO 17024 guidelines, the CCCPA can act as a certification body, provided it does not demand association membership of its certification applicants.

Quality of patient care is paramount in our practice of pathology and laboratory medicine.  Canadian Pathologists’ Assistants play a vital role in our practice, and PA certification is one important step in ensuring that quality of care for all the patients we serve.

Questions and feedback are welcome:

I look forward to seeing all of you in Vancouver!
Victor Tron @CAPACPPresident

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CAP-ACP Communication and Advocacy

Member Spotlight
Recipient of The Ottawa Hospital Physician Leadership Award
Dr. John P. Veinot 

Head, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Veinot is an Anatomical Pathologist and a Cardiovascular Pathologist, who has been working at TOH, CHEO, uOttawa and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute since 1994. He is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and a Clinical Investigator of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is an advocate for quality and patient centred care in the region. On behalf of the CAP-ACP, congratulations on this award!

cjp8-1Canadian Journal of Pathology
If you missed the recent issue 8-1 of the Journal, you can access the electronic version on the CAP-ACP website.

Original Articles

  • 4 The Modern Medical Autopsy - Michael S. Pollanen, MD
  • 7 Will Theranos Take the Challenge of Performing a Pilot Study and Publishing Their Results? - Michelle Li, Eleftherios P. Diamandis
  • 9 Quality-Assessment of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Immunohistochemical Diagnostic Markers: A Canadian Experience - Reza Alaghehbandan, MD, MSc, FRCPC, FCAP, Marija Milena Torlakovic, John Garratt, RT, Beverly A. Carter, MD, FRCPC, Torsten O. Nielsen, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Emina E. Torlakovic, MD, PhD, FCAP, C. Blake Gilks, MD, FRCPC
  • 16 The Advent of Genomic Pathology Rounds – How Personalized Oncogenomics is Transforming the Practice of Oncology and Pathology - Stephen Yip, M.D., Ph.D. & Brandon S. Sheffield, M.D.
  • 19 Malignant Mesothelioma of the Tunica Vaginalis Testis: A Case Report and Review of Literature - Qi Zhang MD, Andrew Hussey, MD, Manaf Ubaidat, MD, Nancy Chan, MD, Jose A. Gomez, MD
  • 24 Hospital Autopsy: A Major Medical Education Gap - Aleksandra Paliga MD, Sarah Strickland MD, Marcio Gomes MD

Annual Meeting Needs Assessments - Winners Announced!

The CAP-ACP annual meeting has recently seen the introduction of many new sections and special interest groups which reflect the varied practice and interests of its members. As a consequence, the annual meeting’s committee was debating on how its program should be restructured in order to accommodate the growing number of sessions and topics. It was decided that rather than using expert opinion, it would be preferable to use an evidence-based approach using well established curriculum design principles and create an ad hoc committee to address this issue.

Thank you all for your contributions to the Annual Meeting Needs Assessment. We had 113 respondants to the Staff survey and 82 respondants to the Trainee assessent.

These results will be valuable during the planning of future meetings; including content, general flow and programming.

Names were entered into a random name picker and the results are in! The winners have their choice of a complimentary 1-yr CAP-ACP 2017 membership, choice of Pathology text book or Annual Meeting Registration!

  • The winner of the Staff survey is Bruce Burns.
  • The winner of the Resident survey is Matthew Kubica.

Please contact to identify the prize that you wish to claim!

Proposal for the creation of a Section of General Pathology at the CAP-ACP
On May 11, 2016 the CAP-ACP Executive received from the ordinary members of the CAP-ACP listed below, a proposal for the creation of a Section of General Pathology within the Canadian Association of Pathologists/Association Canadienne des Pathologistes.

The proposal was reviewed and unanimously accepted. It will be voted on by the members of the CAP-ACP during the AGM held Tuesday, July 12 from 1200-1400.

The proposed Section of General Pathology mission statement, goals, and bylaws can be found here.

The proposed executive officers for the Section of General Pathology are:

  • Chair: Davinder Sidhu
  • Vice-Chair: Heidi Paulin
  • Secretary: Allam Shawwa

Founding Members (written support obtained by e-mail)

  1. Christopher Naugler – University of Calgary
  2. Davinder Sidhu – University of Calgary
  3. Heidi Paulin – Red Deer, AB
  4. Ruth Sellers – Bridgewater, NS
  5. Allam Shawwa – Dalhousie University
  6. Peter Nicholson – Vernon, BC
  7. Tariq Aziz – McMaster University
  8. Rajni Chibbar – University of Saskatchewan
  9. Patrick Wong – Vancouver, BC
  10. James Wright – University of Calgary

Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists' Assistants (CCCPA)
We are pleased to announce the formation of the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists' Assistants (CCCPA).  The CCCPA will operate under the CAP-ACP but outside of the PA Section, as per ISO 17024 "Conformity assessment - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons". With this announcement comes the need to revise the PA Section Bylaws. Click here for the proposed new PA Section by-laws and here for a summary of the changes to the by-laws.

The Bylaws will be submitted for ratification during the PA section AGM held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Vancouver, July 9, 2016.

Position Statement - CAP-ACP Position Statement on Pathologists’ Assistants
The Canadian Association of Pathologists (CAP-ACP) recognizes that there is a role and a need for appropriately trained and certified non-medical personnel (Pathologists’ Assistants (PAs) to assist pathologists in the preparation and examination of tissues in the setting of surgical and autopsy pathology.  This delegation of responsibilities is similar to that given to other physician extenders, such as physician assistants.  The gross examination and selection of tissue for histological evaluation plays a critical role in the accurate diagnosis of disease, this particular delegation must always be performed under the close supervision and direction of a qualified pathologist.

Read the full statement here.

2016-2017 Slate of Officers
The Nominating Committee, along with the direction of the Pathologists' Assistants Section and the Residents Section Chairs, has completed their work and proposes the below Slate of Officers commencing at the completion of the AGM on July 12, 2016.  Note the changes:

  • Annual Meeting Committee Chair - Marcio Gomes
  • Resident Section Member - Elena Diana Diaconescu
  • Pathologists' Assistant Section Member - Alan Wolff

You can view the entire slate here.

Social Media
The CAP-ACP will be looking for more help in generating content for Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Please submit interesting links, etc. to and we will get them posted. Our Twitter feed continues to be very active with 1306 tweets and 714 followers. Even if you do not have a Twitter account, you can follow the feed displayed on our CAP-ACP website homepage. We now have over 1560 Likes on Facebook.

Follow me, Victor Tron, CAP-ACP President on my Twitter account @CAPACPPresident. (803 Tweets with 580 Followers). Follow our Residents @CAPACPResidents for tweets on what they are doing for advocacy and awareness!

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CAP-ACP Education

Join us in Vancouver!

The Annual Meeting will be held July 9-12, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver Hotel, and will feature a multi-disciplinary scientific program, renowned guest speakers, an extensive trade show and a great social program. The Annual General Meeting for CAP-ACP will also be held during this conference on Tuesday, July 12 from 1200-1400. To help us understand a little bit more about you and the reason why you registered, please complete this brief survey.

Visit our “Virtual Exhibit Hall” and check out our sponsors and exhibitors

Don’t miss the special symposia we have planned for the conference and some require and RSVP!lunchlearn

SUNDAY JULY 10, 1130-1230 - Concurrent Lunch Symposia

MONDAY JULY 11, 0700-0800 - Breakfast Symposium Myeloproliferative Neoplasms - RSVP
MONDAY JULY 11,0940-1545 - Exhibit Hall - Mini-Symposia

The conference App provides up-to-the-minute information about the conference including:

  1. Conference program schedule
  2. Speaker information
  3. Sponsor details
  4. Attendee list
  5. Personalized schedule feature

To access the mobile app, follow the instructions below:

It is not too late to register for this excellent event!



Future Annual Meetings
Mark your calendars to ensure your availability for these future conferences:

      • 2017 Charlottetown, PEI June 10-13, Delta Convention Centre
      • 2018 Quebec City, QC July 7-10, Hilton Quebec

Resident Review Course

The 7th Annual Resident Review Course will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Toronto Airport West, 1870 Matheson Blvd., Mississauga, ON  L4W 0B3 January 12-15, 2017. New this year is a fourth day of learning. Thursday will be General Pathology and begin at noon. Mark your calendars!

Case of the monthCase of the Month - PA Section
The Pathologists' Assistants Continuing Education Committee (PA CEC) has posted "Case of the Month" presentations and invites their section members to download and review the cases for your interest.

The information is available on the PA Section

The Education Committee is responsible to look into continuing education requirements for section members, to obtain information on existing and developing PA programs in Canada and to make the arrangements for the annual general meeting conference.  

Note:  You must be logged in as a member to access the Case of the Month page.  It is "Member's Only" access.

The CAP-ACP is pleased to offer its Resident and PA members a discounted license to ExpertPath.

ExpertPath, written by renowned pathologists in each specialty, provides comprehensive decision support you can rely on, including:

      • Over 4,000 common and complex diagnoses
      • 50,000 searchable, high-quality annotated pathology images
      • Overviews of diagnosis groups
      • Tables with summary information for organ systems
      • Normal histology topics
      • Specimen handling protocols and best practices

Click here for more information - Note that you must be a CAP-ACP member, and signed in to the members' area to access the registration link. Cost is $65 CAD - Subscriptions offered through the CAP-ACP are in limited supply. Allow a 72-hour delay to activate your subscription.

*Note that there will be a delay as registrations will be forwarded to ExpertPath on a weekly basis. ExpertPath will then email you directly with your login credentials.

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CAP-ACP Collaboration

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons on Canada - It gives us great pleasure to announce:

RE: Membership – Area of Focused Competence (AFC) Committee in Cytopathology
Emily R. Filter M.D., FRCPC, DRCPSC (Cytopathology), Section Head, Cytopathology, Halifax, NS has been invited to become a voting member as a member-at-large of the AFC Committee in Cytopathology. Dr. Filter's term will begin on July 1, 2016 and will end on June 30, 2018.

RE: Membership – AFC Committee in Cytopathology
Harman Sekhon, MD, MSc, PhD, FCAP, Department of Pathology, Ottawa, ON has been invited back for another term as non-voting member as the national specialty society (NSS) observer on the AFC Committee in Cytopathology. Dr. Sekhon's term will begin on July 1, 2016 and will end on June 30, 2018.

RE: Membership – AFC Committee in Cytopathology
Shahid Islam, MD, FRCPC, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON has been invited back for another term as voting member, as the vice-chair of the AFC Committee in Cytopathology. Dr. Islam's term will begin on July 1, 2016 and will end on June 30, 2018.

RE: NSS Observer Confirmation: Specialty Committee in Anatomical Pathology
Dr. Iakovina Alexopoulou, MD, FRCPC, Professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Division Director, Anatomical Pathology
Discipline Director, Anatomical Pathology, Acting Chief of Laboratories for Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program, McMaster University has been invited back for another term as the national specialty society observer in the Specialty Committee in Anatomical Pathology. The position has been held by Dr. Iakovina Alexopoulou since 2006, for a total of 10 years, and it was recommended by all parties that she continue. Dr. Alexopoulou's term will begin on July 1, 2016 and will end on June 30, 2018.

Re: Membership - Specialty Committee in General Pathology
Jason Stephen Gerald Doyle, MD, FRCPC has completed his term as a voting member as community-based representative of the Specialty Committee in General Pathology. We join the RCPSC in expressing sincere gratitude to Dr. Doyle for having served on this committee.

CAP Guideline Release – Bone Marrow Synoptic Reporting
The College of American Pathologists (CAP) recently published a new evidence-based guideline, “Bone Marrow Synoptic Reporting for Hematologic Neoplasms,” as an Early Online Release in the free access journal Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. This guideline provides a much-needed framework for the clear communication of all bone marrow specimen findings that impact patient outcome and clinical management.

Key points of the guideline include:

  • Diagnosis and treatment of solid tumors—such as colorectal, lung, and breast cancers—has benefited from synoptic reporting, which, as a clinical documentation framework, improves the consistency, accuracy, and completeness of diagnostic information reported across care teams. Now reporting of bone marrow specimens will improve too. 
  • Blood cancers can present indirectly and sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a wide variety of other non-cancer causes. An accurate diagnosis may require ancillary testing. With recommendations to include specific clinical and laboratory data for various specimen types, laboratories can produce a clear synoptic report.
  • With increasing complexity of laboratory and ancillary data, a systematic approach to data presentation will be ever more important to clearly communicate a patient’s diagnosis.

Dr. Cordelia Sever led the seven-member CAP expert panel of pathologists and hematopathologists through the systematic review of more than 1,500 publications and examined evidence from more than 300 articles in determination of the final recommendations with feedback from an open comment period.

The CAP encourages pathologists and laboratory professionals to implement the new guideline recommendations to reduce variance and apply evidence-based practices in their bone marrow synoptic reporting. The guideline is a framework for synoptic reporting of bone marrow specimens and is not a template nor does it replace the related CAP Cancer Protocols, which provide guidance on additional attributes of specific hematopoietic neoplasms involving the bone marrow.

The CAP offers tools and resources, including a summary of the recommendations and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist in implementation and to foster understanding.

Future of Medication in Canada (FMEC) CPD Quarterly Status, March (Q1) 2016
The Steering Committee identified and endorsed individual projects whose outcomes could inform one or more of their defined priorities to contribute to the development of robust description of capacities and priorities of a future Canadian CPD system.  The call for project submissions from the CPD community, originally made in late 2015, was supported in early 2016 with communications to encourage project submissions.  

At the deadline, 40 projects were submitted by 29 organizations that included Provincial Medical Regulatory Authorities, University CPD Offices, Specialty Societies, Provincial Chapters and Educational Colleges.  

The Steering Committee completed a comprehensive review process which included:
·     Creating criteria to facilitate decision making.
·     Assigning two reviewers to independently review each project
·     Hosting a full day meeting to discuss and review projects.
·     Selecting projects that met our inclusion criteria.

At the end of this review process 28 projects were deemed to align with the FMEC CPD priorities.

We are please to announced that the submission by Marcio Gomes, Heather Dow and the CAP-ACP Ad Hoc Committee: "Competency-Based Restructuring of the CAP Annual Meeting" was accepted!

Pathologist Survey with Chance to Win an iPad Mini
This a final reminder of your invitation to participate in a study that we, Dr. Joanna Walsh, Dr. Michele Weir (Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University) and Saad Chahine (The Centre for Education Research and Innovation, Western University), are conducting. 

Briefly, the study involves a 15 minute survey to assess Canadian pathologists’ typical practice environments, reasons for choosing a career in pathology, career satisfaction, and perceptions of multidisciplinary team role and pathology teaching role. Pathologist answers will be compared to those of second year medical students at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in an attempt to identify any areas in our teaching or representation of our specialty that need to be addressed. The survey will remain open for 1 more day.

If you would like to participate in this study please click on the link to access the letter of information and survey. At the end of the survey you will have the option to be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad mini. Please be aware that this survey is for practicing pathologists only (not residents or retired pathologists at this time).

Questions? - Contact Dr. Joanna Walsh, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University,,     519-685-8500 ext. 35022

College of American Pathologists Invited to National Cancer Moonshot Summit

The College of American Pathologists (CAP), the worldwide leader in laboratory quality assurance, will attend this week's National Cancer Moonshot Summit at Howard University. CAP President Richard C. Friedberg, MD, PhD, FCAP, will discuss the organization's experience and ability to help laboratories report real-time, compliant, and standardized data to government cancer data registries. NORTHFIELD, Ill., June 28, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

International Pathology Day 2016 - Wed, 16 Nov 2016
Please encourage your workplace to actively celebrate International Pathology Day on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.

Get involved
If you would like to show your support for the initiative why not:

  • Run an art competition for schools
  • Organize a lab tour for politicians or the public
  • Write an article in your local newspaper, organization bulletin or e-newsletter highlighting the important role of pathology and International Pathology Day
  • Blog, share, tweet about International Pathology Day #IPD2016

Create events like displays in collection centres, hospital foyers, universities or libraries; speak to special interest groups on topics like Genetic Testing, What happens to your pee, poo, pus and plasma.  Organize a laboratory visit for students with interactive sessions eg on POCT, hand washing techniques, examine Blood Film, multi header reviews.  Hold an event for staff in your workplace, give appreciation awards.  

The RCPA has free promotional packs with 100’s of great give-aways, just complete and return the attached form.  Check issues of Pathology Today to find out how to enter your event to win a prize.

Worth celebrating?  Absolutely, the testing and reporting cycle is world class and the health outcomes of each and every one of us are dependent on the quality of the results; take the opportunity to let people know. Please visit for more information.

Events & News
Check out the News and Events sections of the website to stay current with provincial, national and international activities and notices that may be of interest to you.

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